PHILADELPHIA - Despite scoring 10 points in the first half, Saint Louis held off the Butler women's basketball team 44-41 in the first round of the Atlantic 10 Women's Basketball Champioship.
The Bulldogs fall to 17-13, and while out of the conference tourney, BU appears a likely candidate for postseason play. The WNIT and WBI (Women's Basketball Invitational) are likely tournament choices for Butler.
BU built a 10-point lead early in the 2nd half, leading 20-10 after a runner by sophomore Taylor Schippers. The Bulldogs then didn't score for a span of 6:19. The double-digit lead gone, Butler found itself in a tight game.
The Billikens crashed the boards and pounded the ball inside and owned a 38-35 lead with 4:32 left. SLU went inside again to score and lead 40-35, its largest lead of the night. A lay-up by Stratman with 27 seconds left would make it 40-39 and BU called timeout. The Bulldogs fouled, and SLU's Jacy Bradley made both foul shots. Schippers answered with a hoop on the next trip, but BU had to foul Bradley again. The Saint Louis guard was ice again with 9 seconds remaining. After a timeout, Butler had a chance to tie it with a contested 3-pointer off the buzzer. Stratman's 3-point attempt fell off the side of the rim.
Neither team did much offensively in the first half, and it was the stout defense of the Bulldogs that told the story. BU limited Saint Louis to 3-for-26 shooting (.115) to lead 18-10 at halftime. SLU had nine turnovers and one assist and missed half its free throws. Butler led 15-10 when junior Mandy McDivitt made a 3-pointer from the left corner at the buzzer. The Bulldogs shot .250 in the first half.
SLU, the No. 11 seed in the A-10 bracket, improved to 12-18. The Billikens advance to play No. 3 seed Fordham Saturday night.